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United States
  • Film by Mr Jakob Daschek

There's a change in the air in Montauk this time of year. As the well-heeled scenesters head back to New York City, a new crowd is only just arriving to this otherwise sleepy fishing village on the southeastern tip of Long Island.

"The end of summer and the start of fall is when the striped bass season is at its peak," says Mr Lee Meirowitz, a 30-year-old teacher and resident of Montauk. "They migrate south around this time, and it draws a lot of professional fishermen out here. The fish come in close to the shore in feeding frenzies - they're called 'blitzes'. In an area the size of a tennis court, there can be thousands."

Mr Meirowitz, who grew up on the north shore, owes his expertise to endless afternoons spent fishing on Long Island Sound, casting out into the surf for fish to cook and eat that evening. And when he wasn't doing that, the ex-professional surfer was heading down to Montauk in search of big waves. He still remembers one trip that he took with his father in 1996, to catch the swell of Hurricane Bertha: "To this day I still haven't seen surf that good. When my dad told me it was too big, I was furious! I sat on the cliff for two hours and watched him and his lifeguard buddies have the session of their lives." Despite his disappointment, it was only a matter of time before he was to follow in his father's footsteps, graduating to big waves and eventually becoming a lifeguard himself. Years after he first learnt to fish, it was his own lifeguard buddies that encouraged him to trade his rod for a spear gun and start hunting for his grub below the surface.

Now a permanent resident of Montauk - he moved here six years ago after meeting his wife - Mr Meirowitz has been able to watch as it has grown into a resort to match the Hamptons in popularity, whose designer boutiques and manicured privet hedgerows are only a stone's throw away. "This has made everyday things such as getting groceries and going out to dinner a little more difficult to do," he admits. But the "real" Montauk - the fishing community he knew as a boy - is still out there, he says, if you know where to find it.

Just don't ask him to tell you where it is.

Words by Mr Chris Elvidge, Senior Copywriter, MR PORTER